Keller Rohrback files suits on behalf of Skagit County,
Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, and Burlington Against
On January 25, 2018, Keller Rohrback L.L.P. filed suit on behalf of Skagit County and the cities of Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington in Washington state against Purdue Pharma, Endo, Janssen, and other entities for the reckless promotion of opioids.
Defendants’ dubious marketing and aggressive sales of prescription opioids have significantly contributed to the current opioid crisis. Since the mid-1990s, opioids have become the most prescribed class of drugs in America. More than half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid like those manufactured by Defendants. Beyond the cost of human life, the economic burden of prescription opioid abuse costs the United States an estimated $78.5 billion per year in health care and addiction treatment and puts increased strains on human services and the criminal justice system.
In Skagit County, the rate of opioid-related deaths is higher than the state average, with 11.2 deaths per 100,000 residents – compared to a state average of 9.6 – between 2012 and 2016. During those four years, 66 individuals died in Skagit County from opioid-related overdoses.
Plaintiffs Skagit County, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington join several other municipalities and government entities in litigation for damages related to the opioid crisis, including but not limited to, increased emergency medical responses to overdoses, drug-related offenses, and resource allocation spent on community and social programs.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula, who is coordinating the litigation in Skagit County, said in a press release: “Skagit County is awash in prescription opioids. In 2014, 125,436 opioid prescriptions were dispensed to one quarter of the Skagit County population. This is more prescriptions than there are residents in the county.”
Derek Loeser, a partner at Keller Rohrback, said it’s time that the companies responsible for this epidemic be held accountable. “Too many communities have been hit hard by this crisis on so many levels. We’re honored to work with Skagit County, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, and Burlington to ensure that they get some relief.”